Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 233 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/07/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

St. Stephens ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School began in 2014 with just two classrooms, originally located within the primary school. Today, the school continues to grow, currently serving 216 students and 17 teachers and staff. The school is next to two churches, including the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), the school's spiritual sponsor. At the time of our last visit, there was a lot of activity in the community surrounding the school as people prepared for the upcoming planting season on their farms.

Despite two different water points, the school still faces severe water shortages. The first source is a tiny plastic rain tank - just 5,000 liters in volume - that runs dry almost immediately after the rains. For most of the year, the tank sits empty. Then, there is a hand-dug well with a hand-pump. But the well is very shallow, meaning it does not tap into the water table below ground. This means that during the dry seasons, or even when students use it too much in one day, the well runs dry.

Without reliable water on campus, the students turn to two off-campus options for water: carrying it from home, or fetching it from a protected spring in the village. Both require tedious trips off campus that waste a lot of precious learning time. Students have to break to fetch water several times a day, depleting them of their energy and focus when they finally return to class and, consequently, dragging down their academic performance.

"When we fetch water at the spring, the community is not happy with us using the spring," said student Sauba. Conflicts between community members and the students are common due to the added wait time and crowding students' presence creates. Sometimes, students find themselves at odds with their own parents who also need to fetch water. Most times, the students are forced to wait until all of the adults have fetched water first before they are allowed to do so.

When students bring water from home, teachers cannot monitor where students fetch water. That means that some students choose puddles and streams along the road to school simply for their convenience, hoping it will help them get to school on time. Even at the spring, students' dirty jerrycans and mishandling of the water on the walk can contaminate the spring water. Because water is combined for use at school, even one dirty source means everyone is at risk of water-related illnesses. Students and teachers alike most commonly report cases of stomachaches, dysentery, and typhoid after drinking water at school.

"I am always insecure about drinking this water because I contracted dysentery and typhoid," said teacher Barthelemew Omutere Lusaa.

What We Can Do:

Rain Tank

A 75,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will help collect the needed construction materials such as sand, bricks, rocks, and water for mixing cement. We will complement their materials by providing an expert team of artisans, tools, hardware, and the guttering system. Once finished, this tank will begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

We and the school strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve standards at this school, which will help lead to better student academic performance and will help to unlock the potential for these students to live better, healthier lives.

Handwashing Stations

There is currently nowhere for students to wash their hands after using the latrines or before eating lunch, let alone the water to do so.

The student health club will oversee the 2 new handwashing stations we will provide, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The club leaders will fill the handwashing stations with water daily and make sure they are always supplied with a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.

VIP Latrines

We will construct 2 triple-door latrine blocks using local materials that the school will help gather. 3 doors will serve the girls while the other 3 will serve the boys. All of these new latrines will have cement floors that are designed to be easy to use and to clean. And with a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

We will hold a 1-day intensive training session with students, teachers, and parents. This training will cover a wide range of topics including COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention; personal and environmental hygiene; and the operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations. There will be a special emphasis on handwashing.

Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train, including participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, and asset-based community development. We will initiate a student health club, which will prepare students to lead other pupils into healthy habits at school and at home. We will also lead lectures, group discussions, and provide illustrative handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good hygiene practices within the school including handwashing and water treatment. We will then conduct a series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Project Updates

September, 2021: St. Stephen's ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School Project Complete!

St. Stephen's ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank! We installed new latrines and handwashing stations for students, and we trained the school on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention. These components will unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

"Abundance of water in the school will help me reduce the time wasted going to fetch water from the neighborhood, especially during the dry season. Thus, improving on my studies, and this will help me improve on my health since I will be drinking safe and clean water," said Michelle M.

Michelle continued, "Since it will save on time, I will be able to make sure that my dreams come true by ensuring that I concentrate more on my studies to score high grades."

Teachers were just as excited as the students about the new rain tank on campus.

"Access to reliable and safe water will give me an assurance that the water I will be consuming will not be harmful to my health. Also, it will save time wasted during lesson time by the students going out looking for water," said Barthelemew Omutere Lusaa.

How We Go From Ground to Rain Tank

Construction for this 75,000-liter rain tank was successful!

Parents, staff, and students helped our artisans gather everything needed for construction. The school's kitchen staff and a few parents helped provide meals for the artisans, while the school provided the artisans' accommodations. Locals helped our artisans with their manual labor, too.

The process officially began with our staff and school administration looking around the school compound to determine the best location for a new rain tank. This needed to be the best site with enough land and a nearby building with good, clean roofing to catch the rainwater.

Then, we cleared the site by excavating the soil to make level ground for the tank foundation. We cast the foundation by laying big stones on the level ground and reinforcing them using steel wire, concrete, and waterproof cement. We affixed both the drawing pipe and the drainage pipe as we laid the foundation.

Next, we formed the walls using a skeleton of rebar and wire mesh with sugar sacks temporarily tied to the outside as backing. We attached this to the foundation's edges so that the work team could start the Ferro-cementing process. They began layering the walls with cement, alternating with the inner and outer side until six cement layers were in place. (The sugar sacks are removed once the interior receives its first two layers of cement.)

Inside the tank, we cast one central and four support pillars to ensure the dome does not cave in once cemented. Meanwhile, we plastered the inner wall while roughcasting the outer walls. We dug and plastered the access area to the tap outside the tank, installing a short staircase. In front of the access area, we constructed a soak pit where spilled water can drain from the access area through the ground. The pit helps to keep the tap area dry and tidy.

Dome construction could begin after the tank walls settled. We attached a dome skeleton of rebar, wire mesh, and sugar sacks to the tank walls before cementing and plastering it using similar techniques as the wall construction. We included a small manhole cover into the dome to allow access for future cleanings and water treatments.

We propped long wooden poles (about 75 of them!) inside the tank to support the dome while it cured. Then it was down to the finishing touches: fitting a lockable cover over the tap area, affixing the gutters to the roof and tank, and setting an overflow pipe in place at the edge of the dome for when the tank reaches capacity.

Once finished, we gave the rain tank three to four weeks to undergo complete curing. Finally, we removed the interior support poles and dome sugar sacks and cleaned the tank.

We officially handed over the rain tank to the school. Students and staff celebrated the presence of clean water on campus. The event was an excellent chance for us to acknowledge the school administration and students as the primary parties entrusted with the tools we have given and remind them of our continued support as they develop. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

The excitement for the new water project could be seen through the students' facial expressions who represented the rest (because of the COVID-19 protocols) as the field officer handed over the project.

VIP Latrines

This project funded six new ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, three for the girls and three for the boys. These new latrines have cement floors designed to be easy to use and clean, locking doors for safety and privacy, and vents designed to keep air flowing up and out through the roof. With a rain tank right on school property, there should be enough water to keep them clean.

New Knowledge

We scheduled hygiene and sanitation training with the school's staff, who ensured that the training date would be convenient for pupils and teachers. When the training day arrived, the facilitators, Jacqueline Kangu, Laodia Chebet, and Elvine Atsienoo deployed to the site to lead the event. Thirteen students and teachers attended the training, which we held in the school laboratory.

The training started early in the morning, and later moved outside to train on handwashing and site management.

We focused on COVID-19 prevention, transmission, and symptoms while also covering several other topics. These included personal hygiene such as bathing, oral hygiene, and the ten steps of handwashing; environmental hygiene; child rights; operation and maintenance of the rain tank, latrines, and handwashing stations; and leadership and governance. During the latter, the students elected their peers to lead their newly formed student health club.

The club will be significantly involved in the water, sanitation, and hygiene project management at school. It will encourage good health and hygiene practices amongst their peers, teachers, and the larger community. We involved stretches, dances, and physical activities between each topic to keep the pupils' energy up and their minds active. By the end of the training, each pupil understood their role in sustaining clean water and good health within their school community.

Handwashing Stations

The two handwashing stations were set up during training and handed over to the student health club. These were placed outside of the girls' and boys' latrines to encourage handwashing after latrine use. Health club members will teach other students how to wash their hands at the stations properly, make sure the stations are filled with water, and ensure that there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash available.

One of the most lively training discussions happened during a session about the students' misconceptions about COVID-19. Students were reminded to stay safe by observing the measures put in place by health experts to avoid contracting the disease and if someone is affected, not to run away from them but encourage and help them heal in an effort to end stigma.

"The training has been of much help to me because now I'm glad to have added value to myself. Starting today, I am going to put into practice all that I have learned, especially personal hygiene. For instance, brushing my teeth regularly with the right toothpaste and brush to avoid tooth decay," said Brenda T., a 17-year-old student.

"The training was of much value to me since now I know the prevention measures of COVID-19 and can now protect myself and my family from this deadly disease caused by the virus. Also, I can help the affected people to come out of the stigma and have hope," said Shariff O., 16.

We asked Shariff what it was like to be at home for most of the last year due to Kenya's national coronavirus-related school closures and what it has been like coming back to school.

"When school was closed, I missed my favorite subjects, which I intend to build my career on. Also, I very much missed my friends. We used to share a lot of academic ideas, especially during class group discussions."

Shariff continued, "Being back to school to me is like being back to life after spending the longest period of time at home away from school, which gives me hope that my dream of succeeding in life is revived."

When an issue arises concerning the rain tank, the students and teachers are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2021: St. Stephens ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Stephens ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

Project Photos

Project Type

For a rainwater collection system, we build gutters around a building with good, clean roofing to channel rain where we want it. From there, the water falls through a filtered inlet pipe into a high-capacity storage tank, the size of which is based on population and average rainfall patterns. In the tank, water can be stored for months, where it is easily treated and accessed. Learn more here!

A Year Later: Supporting Needy Students by Growing Vegetables!

September, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped St. Stephens ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Michele. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in St. Stephens ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help St. Stephens ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

"Before this project was installed in our school, we used to crowd at the water point, which could result in fights," said 17-year-old student Michele M., when describing what collecting water used to be like at St. Stephens ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School.

But since we installed a rain tank last year, things have been different for Michele and her classmates.

"Ever since the installation of the project until now, I confidently drink water from the tank without fearing any harm of falling sick," said Michele. "For me and my friends, I feel so proud to be in this school where water is available within the compound as well as clean and safe."

With water easily accessible, Michele and her fellow students now have time to dream about how they can make a difference.

"We have a goal to achieve now that we have water for irrigation in our school. As students, we have planted vegetables to help the school," said Michele. "We don't buy vegetables anymore, and also we hope to supply the vegetables to the neighborhood town so that we can support the needy students who can not afford to pay fees."


Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help St. Stephens ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of St. Stephens ACK Eshiakhulo Secondary School – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.